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It seems that as soon as November 1st rolls around, winter begins here on the front range. And I don’t mean with snow… we’ve had snow all autumn. The fall into winter begins in the cañons. Without my noticing the transition, suddenly the ground is frozen hard, and light seems to skirt across the cañon rather than enter into it. In November, there is a noticeable chill to the air in the cañon… like a tunnel of frozen breath. The branches that hang by the stream now become coated with ice and a new world of ice sculptures opens to be seen after the leaves have fallen. Today I saw blades of slender grass arced over the stream and coated with ice as if candles dipped in beeswax………..
My parents were out for a recent visit… each visit they make more precious and dear as they are surely getting on in years. I am amazed that they are still willing to drive across the country to visit me and my family. My mother called unexpectedly one night before they left from home. I unconsciously brace myself when I receive a phone call from my parents that is out of the usual pattern. Prepared to hear bad news from the other end, I instead hear my mother ask, “Would you like us to bring you some apples?”. Hmmmm…. I think…. she is calling me now to ask if I want any apples???? Knowing that my parents always buy their apples direct from the orchards I say, “Sure, you can bring us some apples” She asks what kind of apples I want and I try to think of apple varieties that I grew up with that aren’t available locally where I live… like Jonathon and McIntosh. Then my mother says, “Your father says you eat beets”. Yes, I respond. “Shall we bring you some beets too?” Sure Mom… you can bring me some beets too. I end the phone call a little befuddled and not sure why she was calling me at such an unusual hour to ask me these things, but decide to just let it be.
Well… not only did they bring a plethora of apples with them…. but also freshly picked peaches, nectarines, lemons, homemade peach and black raspberry jam, and yes, fresh beets. And only 2 jars of home-canned peaches. I thought how it used to be that they would always bring us jars and jars of peaches in that thick sugar syrup, and stewed tomatoes galore! I’m sure there was sweet corn that I am forgetting too. I know they really don’t understand fully why I eat the way I do, but it was heartening to see that they do accept it now. And both of them have incorporated at least some BTD principles into their own lives as well.
While my parents were visiting, we drove up to the Hayman burn area in the high country…. the scene of a very large wildfire several years ago. I had not been to this region since the fire happened. As we were driving through, I noticed that in spite of the devastation, there was a strange beauty to the map of the fire. Yes, there were many charred sticks poking out of the ground that were once Ponderosa pine and Doug fir…. miles upon miles of charred sticks… but there was now a lush undergrowth growing up and around the burnt trees that softened the harshness of that reality. And clearly seen were the patterns of wind and fire sweeping through the forest like giant brush strokes where the fire skipped over some hillsides only to consume others across the way. But what was most amazing to me was to see the topography of the land that is not visible in a forest full of trees; all that lays hidden by the trees was now laid bare. As if I could now see the skin of the forest. It was breath-taking.
And it reminded me of perspective…. a clear view. A reminder that there is always so much more than is directly visible. As I enter a period of deep change in my life, I hold this image of the forest regenerating itself close to my heart, and the perspective one gains when looking through the charred trees to the lay of the land that was always there.
Perhaps it is sometimes it is necessary to strip away, maybe even burn away, to truly see the forest through the trees.
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